The Education & Employment Directorate recently released the results of the 2015 exams and assessments which students sat in May and June of this year. After a dip in primary results last year, the results of the Year 6 SATs show encouraging progress in primary schools. At Prince Andrew School, the GCSE results were a mixed picture, with strong results in some subjects and for a number of students, but a significant drop in overall results.
Chairperson of the Education Committee, Councillor Christine Scipio-O’Dean, commented:
“The Education Committee offers congratulations to all the students who have done so well this year. We would like to particularly acknowledge the primary schools and the Year 6 students who showed dramatic improvements in English. At Prince Andrew School, there were areas of real success and we encourage teachers and students to celebrate their successes and continue to work hard.
“The graph shows the underlying improvement in the trend of our Prince Andrew School results. My personal congratulations go out to all those students who did their best and achieved their goals.”
The Education Committee recently received a detailed report and analysis of the results from primary schools and the progress achieved there. Overall, the results were very encouraging. After a dip in last year’s results, the outcomes from primary schools on the Island were up in 2015, with very significant improvements shown in Reading, Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar tests. Results in Mathematics were also up slightly from last year.
The challenging target for St Helena of 75% of all primary school children achieving a level 4 or above was exceeded in Reading, with 78% of students reaching this standard compared to only 59% last year. In Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar, 59% reached Level 4 this year, well in excess of the 35% who did so in 2014. Results in Mathematics also went up, but by a smaller margin, with 48% achieving Level 4 in 2015 against 44% last year.
For the 2015/16 school year, primary schools will continue their successful focus on literacy, working to consolidate success in this vital area. Work is also underway to review performance in Mathematics to look at how students can be taught in a way that makes numeracy lessons more practical and engaging. Overall, the performances in primary schools were very strong this year – and the improvement in literacy is particularly encouraging as this has been an area of concern for some time.
GCSE results from Prince Andrew School presented a more mixed picture for 2015, with some strong performances across the school but also some unexpected dips. On the positive side, students did exceptionally well in a number of subject areas, with 100% of students in ICT and Coordinated Science achieving A* – C grades, along with more than 90% of students in Food & Nutrition and Design & Technology doing the same.
In the core subject areas, however, performance dipped sharply from last year, with 34% of students achieving A* – C grades in English and 24% in Mathematics. This drop means that 29% of students achieved five A* – C grades overall, but only 18% earned five A* – C grades, including English and Mathematics. Last year’s results, the highest ever in St Helena’s history, had 49% of students earning their five A* – C grades with English and Mathematics.
Historically, the results from Prince Andrew School have fluctuated from year to year, but overall have shown improvement over time as the graph below indicates.
Although the grades in English and Mathematics were disappointing this year, there were also real successes to celebrate. As noted above, there were very strong performances in a number of subject areas, both academic and practical. The gender difference between boys and girls, a serious concern in previous years, was much less pronounced than last year – with the top performing students split almost evenly between boys and girls.
There were very encouraging results as well from the A-level students, with an overall pass rate at 87.5% and 93% of students earning at least one grade at A-level.
Director of Education & Employment, Shirley Wahler said:
“We thank all our teachers for their hard work last year and congratulate our students on their successes. While not all the results this year have been as positive as we had hoped, there is still real reason to celebrate what has been achieved. The results from primary schools are extremely encouraging, and it is notable that schools far exceeded their target in reading. We need to work hard to maintain and build on this success.
“At Prince Andrew School, individual students have done extremely well and there are subjects like ICT, Coordinated Sciences, Design & Technology, Food & Nutrition and PE in which the performance is really excellent. Our goal going forward is to ensure that our schools have a consistent focus on improving attainment and help all students to reach their potential.
“This can only happen if we all work together. Education is a partnership between teachers, students, parents and the entire community. If we commit ourselves to excellence, we can achieve it, and St Helena deserves nothing less.”
Headteacher of Prince Andrew School, Paul Starkie, concluded:
“Whilst there were some disappointments in some of the results this year, every cohort of students presents different challenges and our aim is always to ensure that every single student is provided with the right support to help realise their potential.
“We had some very pleasing overall subject results at GCSE and A-level, and we are also pleased to report that 76% of students achieved one A-C grade – which is the highest since records began in 1996.”
23 September 2015